In India we have a talent for highlighting our weaknesses and suppressing out strength. And what is our strength? To my mind our biggest strength has to be that we are a young nation. There are millions of young minds out there crying out for a place in the sun. But whether it is politics, industry or bollywood the old rule the roost. The young and the restless have to wait for another day.
The Indian political scene has to be one of the most depressing in the world. Both the ruling UPA and the opposition, be it the BJP or the Left are stacked with old timers who should be sitting at home watching television and sipping tea with Marie biscuits. I respect Dr Manmohan Singh for his invaluable contribution to the country but now the time has come when he should go. And so it is with the Advani’s and the Prakash Karat’s in the parallel universe of Indian politics.
What is it that makes old men so reluctant to leave positions of power? The question answers the dilemma. When they secure positions of importance they use these positions for longevity of life, the trappings of power and the perpetuation of status quo. Their entire energy or what remains of it is spent in these pursuits and the time to focus on running the country with clarity, determination and of course energy becomes a distant priority.
Remember the late PM, V.P. Singh? The so called Rajah who became a fakir spent the last few years of his life bleeding the country with completely free dialysis treatment in the most expensive hospitals. The question that needs to be asked is that should a five year term in office entitle old, sick men to bleed the country in perpetuity?
But why complain about the politicians alone? Look how the beginnings of old age have impacted our ageing superstars in bollywood. Most of them are heading towards the 50 mark, despite the denials, and the attempt to romance heroines one third their real age, engage in brawls and strut around in transplanted hair and God knows what else, underscores the fact that they just cannot handle old age.
No one is advocating that with growing years one has to slide into anonymity. But there is a dignity that comes with growing old. And if we violate that, then well, the only legacy that these old men would leave behind would be - that he came, he saw, he sat and sat and sat on that chair till finally he was thrown out kicking and screaming!